Today's Asteroid Flyby Was Pretty Tame (Especially Relative to That Crazy Meteor in Russia)

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Just a few pixels on a screen, moving slowly

asteroidflyby.jpg

When I tuned into NASA's livestream of the asteroid 2012 DA14's closest approach to earth, I'm not sure what I expected. What I saw was this: a few pixels moving up a screen. It looked like a screenshot from Pong. And that was it. The approach came and went (happily!).

Perhaps I have been conditioned by the Hubble Space Telescope and the movie Armageddon to expect a lot from space, visually speaking. The thing is, though: This is how a lot astronomy looks. Grainy images, tiny changes tracked through hard work and almost miraculous engineering. The stunning visual is the exception not the rule.


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/todays-asteroid-flyby-was-pretty-tame-especially-relative-to-that-crazy-meteor-in-russia/273229/